Future Memory

Rani Nair, Kate Elswit

    Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


    Choreographer and Performer: Rani Nair.
    Dramaturg and Historian: Kate Elswit.
    Costume: Amanda Wickman; Technological consultant: Tobias Hallgren; Graphic designer: Bergen; Production: Rani Nair, Anna Thelin.

    Supported by Kulturrådet (Arts Council of Sweden), Konstnärsnämnden (Swedish Arts Grants Committee), and Carina Ari Memorial Foundation. Created during residencies at Cullbergbaletten, Dansstationen Malmö, and Dansenshus Stockholm.

    Future Memory has been shown in Malmö, Lund, Jönköping, Stockholm, Salzburg, New Delhi, Vienna, and Singapore.

    What does it mean to inherit a dance? German choreographer Kurt Jooss made his last piece Dixit Dominus in 1975 as a gift for Swedish-based Indian dancer Lilavati Häger, who gave it to Rani Nair to reconstruct in 2003. Future Memory (2012) returns to Dixit, this time focusing not on the choreography but on the stories around it. It is a second-order performance — a performance about a performance — that uses the personal responsibilities of inheritance to move towards larger questions of history, memory, and legacy. A review from the premiere described it as combining “Humor, warmth, and intellectual sharpness, all in one.” With a combination of gentleness and challenge, Future Memory embraces the possibility of an alternative history, one in which a “minor” dance takes ten years of another artist’s life, and where insider and outsider are more complicated than we might think. Here both identity and dance history are understood not in terms of Indian versus Western European, but in a hybrid way that uses real and imagined archives to allow for shades of Indianness, Swedishness, and Germanness.

    Nair’s one-hour solo uses dance, spoken text, film, and singing in more and less spectacular forms. There are moments when audiences are invited to touch and smell. And there is a duet between a hair-dryer and a costume that was never worn in performance. Elements of the piece have also been presented in other formats, including a reading circle of published and unpublished letters from Nair to Häger.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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